Wise Child

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WiseChild.jpg

Wise Child is a play by Simon Gray.

The plot concerns orphaned Jerry Artminster, who blackmails a criminal named Jock Masters by promising he won't reveal his identity if Jock agrees to impersonate the boy's mother in the Reading, Berkshire, (England) hotel where the boy lives. The other characters are Mr. Booker, the gay hotel manager who fancies the boy, and Janice, a black woman who works in the hotel.

The play was first staged in 1967 at Wyndham's Theatre in London with Alec Guinness as Jock. After 12 previews, the Broadway production at the Helen Hayes Theatre opened on January 27, 1972. It closed after four performances following critical thrashings by Clive Barnes and Walter Kerr in the New York Times and Richard Watts, Jr. in the New York Post.

The New York City production was directed by James Hammerstein and starred Donald Pleasence as Jock, Bud Cort as Jerry, George Rose as Mr. Booker, and Lauren Jones as Janice.

Donald Pleasence was nominated for the Tony Award for Best Actor in Play.

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